All Good Things Must End

It’s been said that ‘All Good Things Must Come to an End’

Well, while that is the case for True Temper bicycle tubing, there is a ‘steel’ lining.

Several months back, True Temper announced that they will ending their production of bicycle tubing. For us, this was a concern as we are one of the largest users of True Temper OX Platinum and S3 tubing in the business. A lot of our customers were asking us “what are you guys going to do?”

Our concerns was quickly alleviated when Randy of Vari-Wall contacted us with some great news. Vari-Wall was set to develop a replacement line. We were in the middle of trying to decide how we would replace True Temper tubing for our super-light steel bike frames, when he called and actually made us a big part of designing a replacement line.

Vari-Wall is no stranger to the bicycle tubing world. In fact, they began their business in 1985 as a bicycle tubing manufacturer. Their professional, ‘can-do’ attitude is much appreciated by a company like ours. It’s been fantastic working directly with them to develop a replacement line of tubing for the OX Platinum and S3 tubing that we’ve become so accustomed to building with.

So, as 2017 begins, we can breath a great big sigh of relief! We now have even BETTER American Made high performance, light-weight steel tubing options to offer you. Not only that, but we’ve even had all of our input considered for the actual design of the new product! We’re stoked to say the least!

You’ll see on our website that Vari-Wall tubing begins to replace the True Temper offerings as the Vari-Wall options come on-line.

Vari-Wall and R+E Cycles are going to make a great team!


Thanks Vari-Wall

What’s keeping you from buying a bicycle built for 3, 4 or 5??

One of the most visited pages on our website over the last year is our Xtra-long bike page. There’s not many manufacturers that make bicycles for 3 or more people, and for some reason, there’s a lot of families interested in them right now.

Even with all of that interest, some people have a hard time committing to owning one of these creations. There are a few obstacles that can make these bikes impractical to own. These were all things that I struggled with too before I designed the Xtra-long bike that my family rode for 6 fun years. I thought I should share my experiences and let you all know why we make our Xtra-long bikes the way we do. There are some Rodriguez differences that can save you thousands of dollars. If done right, your experience can be amazing, and can create great bicycle memories for you and your family to look back on. I know this personally.

So, let’s get down to business. Here’s the objections most people have to actually jumping in and buying one of these bikes.

1.) How do I store it?
A bicycle built for 3 is too long to hang on a ceiling hook. One built for 4 or 5 can be up to 15 feet long. Where’s that going to go?

2.) How do I transport it?
There are lots of ways to transport a single, or even a tandem. But a triple, quad, or quint is so long that it won’t fit on top of a car or in the back of a pickup truck.

3.) It’s such a specialty bike. Will it get ridden enough to make it worth the price?
Most people who want a triple, quad or quint already own single bikes and a tandem. So, adding another expensive bike that will only be ridden if all parties are available seems impractical.

bicycle built for 5 on top of a car


You can benefit from our experience

After years of building bicycles for 2, 3, 4 and 5, we’ve learned a thing or two. We are one of the oldest, if not the oldest, of the Xtra-long bicycle manufacturers still building in the U.S.

My family rode a bicycle built for 4 for several years while my kids were young, so I have a lot of experience in the subject. These are all things that I struggled with before we built our quad. The solution: S&S couplers and some Rodriguez ingenuity.

Let me tackle these obstacles one at a time.

1.) Storage: This one is very easy to solve. Every Xtra-long Rodriguez includes at least enough S&S couplers to take the bike into 2 parts quickly and easily. Having two halves makes storage much easier (take it from someone who knows). There is no extra charge on our Xtra-long bikes to have this feature.

2.) Transporting the bike: Another huge benefit for the S&S couplers in your new Rodriguez Xtra-long bike is transporting it. In my case, I simply took the bike in half (takes about 2 minutes), and was able to easily fit it in my little clam-shell style tandem hauler. I could fit the whole quad in there, as well as my road bike, the kids bikes, and all of our luggage for any trip we took. If I didn’t want to use the trailer, I could easily haul the bike as a tandem on my tandem rack, and the other 2 sections were small enough to put in the back of the van behind the rear seat.

Having enough couplers to take the bike into 2 parts is a must for all of our Xtra-long bike customers, and that’s why we include at least enough couplers for that to happen at no charge.

3.) It’s such a specialty bike, will it get ridden enough?
This is certainly an important consideration for most families, and was for us as well. Truth be told, if I would’ve just built a quad for our family, I don’t think it would have been ridden enough to make it worth it. Sure, we could’ve saved a little money up front, but it would be really expensive in the end. Read on…


S&S couplers, strategically placed, can make your Xtra-long bike quite manageable


This is where Rodriguez ingenuity really comes in. I designed our bike to be easily convertible from 2, to 3, to 4 in just minutes. Here at Rodriguez, we have a staff of rare birds, so anything is possible. The frame shop team can build just about anything, so this was no challenge at all to build.

This turned out to be the best money spent. As it turned out, most of the riding we did on this bike was done as a tandem. Even on vacation, I left the bike set up as a tandem and we did morning rides as a couple. Then, if the weather was good, and the kids wanted to ride, I made it into a quad. We could do a leisurely family ride into town and have ice cream. If one kid preferred to stay at Grandma’s house instead of riding, we left that section out of the bike. It was like owning a tandem, a triple and a quad, but a lot less hassle (and expense).

The Wrap-up and Recommendations

Make sure your Xtra-long bike is a vacation bike
Had we just built it as a quad only, then I don’t think I would’ve bothered taking it on vacation with us. The tandem is a must, as are the single bikes. So, how would I take all of those bikes, as well as the quad? Answer: I wouldn’t have. That would’ve been a shame, because it turned out that the most fun we had with this bike was on vacations.

Instead, it went on every vacation we took from 2006 ~ 2013, and was ridden in some configuration just about every day on those vacations.

Riding into Rupert, Idaho for the 4th of July parade on a quad was a blast for us and the kids. Believe me, cars slow down when they see a quad, and they usually roll the windows and start asking questions (which the kids love to answer). Riding through the Idaho farmlands as a family ‘racing’ Grandma and Grandpa on their tandem made for some lifelong memories. Then, while Grandma and Grandpa kept the kids for a few days, Marcie and I could take the tandem and spend the time in Sun Valley riding the trails up there.

Bicycle built for four people


Riding into Rupert for the annual 4th of July parade in 2007. Photo Courtesy of Grandma Sally

At home, we left the bike as a tandem for our morning rides. It was our only tandem. We didn’t need multiple bikes. On weekends through the summer, I often put it back into quad mode and we went for an evening ride. Again, ice cream, dinner, coffee shop, you name it. Riding with the kids is quite a bit different than the 2 of us riding as a couple.

Had I built it as a quad only, this would’ve been the only riding it ever got. Instead, it got ridden several times per week as a tandem, occasionally as a quad around town, and almost every day of our vacations. Like we say, a bicycle that gets ridden is a happy bicycle.

Would we do it again?
Yes, absolutely! Our kids have outgrown the quad, and it was sold in 2014 for someone else to enjoy. But the memories live on. The only thing I would’ve done differently is that I wish we would’ve done it 3 years earlier. Having 3 more years to enjoy the family quad rides would be something we would cherish. That being said, I really loved the 6 years we had on the bike, and if it’s in your budget, I highly recommend it.

Back on Point
Obstacles to owning an Xtra-long bike: As you can see, all of these obstacles can easily be overcome here at Rodriguez. It might cost a little more up front, but it certainly saves a lot of money to have one bike that can serve as your everyday tandem, your vacation bike, as well as your Xtra-long family bike. Not to mention the added bonus of strorage and transportation.

Thanks for reading, and I hope this clears up some of those nagging questions so you can go ahead and order your Rodriguez Xtra-long bike 😉

Thanks for reading – Dan – 2017

Bicycle Built for 4, 3, 2, and 1




Something you’ll only see at Rodriguez

Counting on you fingers
There are a lot of custom bicycle builders in the world. That list shrinks quite a bit when you look for custom tandem builders. Now, you can probably count on your fingers the number of shops that can build you a bicycle for three. Think about it….how many can you think of? Now, think of how many shops will build you a bicycle built for 4 or even 5! These are what we call Extra-Long bicycles. Is your list shrinking?

Now for the really hard stuff!
Add convertibility to the mix . What is ‘convertibility’? It’s the ability to make your Extra-Long bicycle easily convert to a bike for 3 or 2 riders. How cool is that? The number of builders that have accomplished this you can count on just one hand now.

But wait! I’m not finished. Now for the icing on the cake. How about an Extra-Long bicycle that will convert all the way down to a regular bicycle built for one? The list of builders who’ve done this can probably be counted on one finger….Rodriguez Bicycle Company of Seattle.

You won’t see much about our company in magazines or online bicycle tech sites. For some reason, they don’t take much notice of what we’ve been doing out here in Seattle for the last years now. If you’ve heard of us, it’s probably because someone you ran into along the way recommended our shop. Maybe you needed something very specific, and another shop sent you our way. (Many thanks to all of you who are getting the word out.) When it comes to the extra-ordinary, we’ve done just about everything possible with a bicycle. The crew here is the best there is.

Now about this amazing bike
This particular project was really cool. In 2002 we built one of our exclusive Rodriguez 8-ball convertible tandem/single bikes for a couple here in Seattle. This specific bike sports the very first Rodriguez bottle opener. The one on this bike was actually made by hand here in the shop at the request of the customer. I liked it so much that I traced the shape on a piece of paper, and then imported it to my computer. Then we had them custom cut for us by a company here in Seattle, and have ever since.

This Fall, that couple approached me about building a couple of sections for their children. This is something that we’ve done before, so we came up with a plan for them. They also wanted to upgrade the shifting to Rohloff and put the drag brake on the front wheel in the form of a Sturmey Archer drum brake.

All of the finished upgrades can be seen in the full photo gallery for this bicycle.

Now for a few of the progress photos:




Making room for the new bottom bracket that will contain the Bushnell eccentric. This is required for upgrading to the Rohloff rear hub. Dan P. does some great work!


The frame got a full new rear triangle to make room for wider tires, Rohloff rear hub, and Bushnell eccentric



The frame stretched out on the frame table and the beginning of the 3rd section.

All of the finished upgrades can be seen in the full photo gallery for this bicycle.

Rodriguez and Erickson Custom Bicycles Logo

A Super light Custom Travel Tandem




Highlight: A fly-weight steel travel tandem from Rodriguez

These have been really hot in 2016!


Super Light Custom Steel Tandem by Rodriguez


Rodriguez Ultra-light tandems offer many advantages over other brands:

  • A Rodriguez rides like steel because it is steel
  • Rodriguez Tandems are built custom to fit both riders at no extra charge
  • We don’t skimp or use tricky weight saving techniques like leaving out the Stiffener Tube
  • Rodriguez Tandems are built to last forever without the use of non-standard parts
  • A fork that’s not only tandem rated, but handles better than any carbon fork on the market
  • An adjustable stoker to dial in your stoker’s fit, then a super-light steel or titanium fixed position stem to shave another pound or two
  • A lifetime frame and fork warranty (most carbon frames have very limited warranties)

For almost a decade now, we here at Rodriguez have been known for building some of the lightest tandem bikes on the road. One surprising thing about these bicycles built for two is that they are made of good ol’ American steel! Well actually, they are made of the New American Steel. In 2007 we introduced our 25.8 pound Ultra-light tandem and shocked our competition. Since the bike’s introduction, we’ve sold them steadily, but 2016 seems to be something special. We sold several just in the last few months.

Now you don’t have to sacrifice weight to have the durability, comfort, and superior performance of a hand-built steel tandem.

A twist this year is that many of them are travel versions using S&S couplings. This adds 2.7 pounds of weight, but we’ve been busy shaving weight where we can and now have these incredible bikes down to a science in the travel version as well. I thought it was time for a highlight on one that’s just coming through the assembly dept. now. This one is our Chorus version, and has some weighty additions, but still comes out incredibly light!

The Current Tandem at Hand
The Weight Break Down on this bike goes like this:

  • Rodriguez Ultra-light Chorus Tandem Model (28.6 pounds)
  • Rodriguez Travel Upgrade (+2.7 lbs)
  • Cantilever brakes for extra wide tire clearance (+8 oz)
  • Bodyfloat seat post for Stoker comfort (+8 oz)
  • Option for disc drag brake (+5 oz)
  • Spinergy Tandem Wheelset upgrade option (-5 oz)

Including the above list of weight additions, final weight on this bike is 32.5 lbs once the included lightweight custom steel stoker stem is installed. Our ultra-light tandem models come stock with a temporary adjustable stoker stem that is heavier. Once the stoker’s fit is completely dialed in, measurements are taken of the final preferred position and a lightweight steel (titanium in the case of the Record Tandem) fixed position stem is built to replace it.

Realize, when I quote weights, I’m quoting verified true digital scale weights that we will stand behind with a ‘no bull’ money back guarantee. This one clocked in at just 33lbs 4oz with the adjustable stem and the other options.


Custom Rodriguez Tandem with S&S couplings

This Rodriguez Travel Tandem (Chorus model) is not only great looking, but only weighs 33lbs 4oz as pictured here with the fully adjustable stem and several comfort upgrades that add some weight. Subtract 3/4lbs when the included ultra-light stem replaces the adjustable.

Lightened couplers and braze-ons all around help to keep this flyweight tandem one of the lightest, best performing tandems available today. This customer also chose to add rear rack braze-ons for light touring. At Rodriguez, your bike is really ‘your bike’. Just tell us what you want and we will make it happen!

View the full photo gallery for this bike here


If you or anyone you know, has been considering a high-end tandem, ultra-light or not, we ask you to consider a Rodriguez Custom Tandem. We build every tandem by hand, custom for its owners. We’ve been doing it longer than anyone else too. Since 1973 we’ve been building our tandems right here in Seattle’s University district. We’d love to be your tandem shop.

The New Rodriguez Bandito


The Lightest Road Bike with Disc Brakes!

Unleash the Beast!

For a decade now, we here at Rodriguez have been known for building some of the lightest bikes on the road. The amazing thing about these bikes is that they are made of good ol’ American steel! Well actually, they are made of the New American Steel. In 2006 we introduced our 13.5 pound Rodriguez Outlaw. That led to mass retirements of Trek Madone’s, Cervelo R3’s, Specialized Tarmac’s, and many many other overseas-made carbon frames. We love the look on people’s faces when they lift the Outlaw for the first time. Especially if they rode in on something they thought was ‘really light’.

Well, now we’d like to introduce something else equally spectacular. The Outlaw has a new cousin equipped with disc brakes, the Rodriguez Bandito. It took some time, and some planning to get this bike down to it’s fly-weight of just 15.9 pounds, but we’ve done it. The lightest disc brake bikes that we’ve been able to verify weight on are at least 2 pounds heavier than the Bandito.


“The Rodriguez Bandito offers the serious weight weenie some never before seen features available on a fly-weight disc brake road bike!”


Custom Steel bike with disc brakes by Rodriguez


Verified 15.9 pounds with disc brakes and 32c tires!

First up: 32c Tires

Now here’s an idea. One of the benefits to disc brakes on a road bike is that the brake caliper no longer limits your tire width. So, if the frame and fork are designed properly, you can put wide tires on your bike. Unfortunately, race bike manufacturers don’t realize that most ‘everyday’ riders would like this ability, and design their forks and frames for the same skinny tires that you could run with caliper brakes:-( We ask “where’s the fun in that?!”

The Bandito is the first ultra-light disc brake road bike designed for use with wide tires. As a matter of fact, we even did the weigh in with 32c tires on the bike. You can run up to 35c tires on this bike. We see the ability to run wide tires as the most important advantage to road disc brakes. Otherwise, why pay the weight penalty?

Next features: Lighter, more comfortable and more durable than your carbon bike

Now you won’t have to compromise weight, ride quality, comfort, or durability to own the sweetest ride in the pack. The Banditio comes with our lifetime warranty, just like all of our steel bikes (most carbon bikes have just 5 year limited warranties). Steel has a well deserved reputation as the smoothest riding material, but also is thought of as heavy:-( This is because most of us owned heavy steel bikes back in the 1970’s, and we associated the ‘heft’ with the frame material. We loved the ride, but were willing to sacrifice that smooth ride to save a few pounds on aluminum or carbon fiber. Well, steel has evolved, and now we can make a Rodriguez from steel that’s lighter than it’s carbon or aluminum counterparts. Some of you are probably ready to email us and schedule a test ride…right? Others out there, I know will be reading this and thinking “Bull Sh#$%” right? Well, read on then. I’ll explain a few things that will help you understand how we can pull this off.

Use your head:
Let’s talk about head tubes and head sets. This is the part of the bike where the fork is attached, and the bearings are referred to as the head set. Originally, carbon fiber bikes used the same sized head tubes and ISO head sets as titanium, aluminum and steel bikes. This part of the frame is under more stress, and carbon frames began to fail at this point. So, manufacturers began to ‘beef up’ this part of their carbon frames. Unlike aluminum, titanium and steel frames, it turns out carbon frames needed more material in this area in order to have the strength needed. To fit these bigger head tubes, bigger, non-standard head sets were used, and sometimes a proprietary fork. The issues of non-standard, or proprietary parts are many, but one thing is for sure. The bigger head tubes and head sets, and proprietary forks may have made the frame weight lower, but added weight to the full bike when built.

Bottoms up:
Now, let’s talk about bottom brackets. This is the part of your frame that holds the bearings for your cranks. Needless to say, this is also also weak point on a carbon bike. It’s a point of great stress on any frame. To fit the ultra-light, standard ISO bottom brackets that are used in steel, aluminum and titanium bikes, the carbon guys had to glue in a steel or aluminum shell so they could put threads in it. This added weight to a carbon frame. This was also a weak point as eventually the glue failed. To solve the problem, the carbon guys again abandoned the long held ISO standards, and adapted one of several different non-standards. Again, the frame had to be ‘beefed up’ and a heavier bottom bracket had to be used.

Let’s compare:
This brings us to an interesting point. Wether intentional or not, these evolutions artificially make a carbon frame seem lighter than it is. If one weighs just the carbon frame, without it’s required heavier bottom bracket and head set, the frame can be a little lighter than our steel Bandito. So a published frame weight is not the only thing to look at. If one weighs the carbon frame with it’s fork, required head set, and required bottom bracket, the result will be quite different. You see, an ultra-light Rodriguez steel frame, you can still use ultra-light ISO standard parts. This means that you can run much lighter head sets and bottom brackets, and in some cases forks. The result is very similar weights, or often, a lighter combined weight for the Rodriguez ultra-light.

So, no more weighing just the frame. You need to weigh the entire bike, or at least the frame with it’s bottom bracket, head set and fork to get a real comparison. If you do that, you’ll find the secret behind the Rodriguez ultra-light steel bikes like the new Bandito.

Added weight for no reason:
When designing the Bandito, we weighed a larger head tube and head set like the carbon bikes run. A lot of steel bike manufacturers run these, but I have no idea why. For instance, the weight difference between an ISO head tube set up and a 44mm head tube was just shy of 1/2 of a pound! On a steel bike, that’s completely unnecessary added weight, as a steel frame is strong enough without all of that ‘beef’.

Then, add to that the larger bottom brackets. The added weight again would be wasted on a steel frame, but none-the-less, a lot of steel bike builders use them.

If a steel bike has these larger head tubes, head sets, bottom bracket shells, and bottom brackets, it is a pretty heavy frame, and a really heavy bike. But, we don’t don’t use that stuff. I would put our ultra-light steel bikes up against any fly-weight on the market of any material.

In closing I’d like to say, if you love really light bikes, and you haven’t ridden a custom, American hand-made Rodriguez ultra-light, DO before you spend money on a carbon frame mass-produced overseas. If you already own a carbon bike, we challenge you to come in for a ride…but be careful…most who do wind up on a Rodriguez.

Thanks for reading – Dan 11-2016


Related Articles


Weight a Minute – Honesty in advertising
Steel vs. Carbon – Steel CAN be lighter
Chaos – Downside to abandoning ISO standards
The New Carbon… Carbon Steel!
Forever Bike – Proprietary parts 🙁

Two Times The Fun!

Northwest Tandem Rally and Rodriguez Custom Tandems…A great pair!

Some Tandem Articles
How to Get Started on a tandem
Tandevangelist How to teach tandem
Custom vs. Stock size. Which one?
Stiff Proposition All about stiffener tubes
The Lightest Tandem
How to Shop for a tandem

Tandem riding is my favorite kind of bicycle riding. Tandem riding can be leisurely, or competitive, or BOTH at the same time. That’s the beauty of it. You can ride with your partner even if you have different skill levels, fitness, or enthusiasm. Since I’ve been married 32 years now, it’s important to find ways to enjoy activities together. Tandem riding evens out all of the differences between us. The other couples that you meet when riding tandems are a blast too.

Seattle is a hot spot for tandems, and has been since the early 1970’s when Angel Rodriguez and Glenn Erickson opened R+E Cycles.

The exciting news for Seattle is that the Northwest Tandem Rally will be held in here in July of 2017! That’s in less than 10 months! R+E Cycles is honored to be the title sponsor of the event. How we could we say no when the rally will be based just down the street from our shop? We’re very excited for the season to begin, and very excited for the rally!

I thought now would be a great time to list some of the historical events, innovations, and situations surrounding Rodriguez and Erickson tandems over the last years. I’ve tried to keep it brief and focussed on tandem specific stuff, but years is a long time. I hope you enjoy it.

My introduction to Tandems:
When I interviewed for a job here at R+E Cycles back in 1987, I met Angel Rodriguez. He was sweeping the floor, and I had no idea who he was as I was fresh out of Jerome Idaho. There was no internet of course, so personalities in the bicycle world were more regional at that time. Anyway, after my interview with Estelle, she introduced me to Angel Rodriguez (I had noticed the name Rodriguez all over the bicycles on the shop floor). After the pleasantries were over, Angel’s first question for me was “do you have experience with tandems?” Well, the only tandem I’d seen in person at the time was an Andre Bertin at a shop that I had very briefly worked at in Federal Way (Tandems are not something that most shops deal in). “Not much, but a little” was my answer. Little did I know that within a a few days, I’d be selling, working on, assembling and riding tandems every day.

My first year here, Estelle loaned me a tandem that my wife and I rode that summer. We were hooked! We’ve now been tandem riders coming up on 30 years. That love for tandem bicycles has driven our shop since its beginning, and 2017 looks to be another chance to share this irresistible style of biking with more Northwesterners than ever. You see, tandem riding can be competitive, leisurely, family fun, or anywhere in between. The folks you’ll meet at a tandem rally are a blast to hang out with. We’ve ridden tandem rallies where we led the pack at speeds not maintainable on a ‘half-bike’. We’ve also ridden tandem rallies where we pulled the kids in a trailer and rode way in the back of the pack. Every rally we met new people and formed life long friendships with them. I can’t say enough about the social event that is the Northwest Tandem Rally. If you own a tandem, and haven’t done a rally….do this one! If you don’t own a tandem, and haven’t done a rally….get one! I guarantee a good time.

Innovations and Creations:
Since tandems are on the brain, I thought I would take a few minutes here and share with you some of the rich tandem history of R+E Cycles over the last 44 years. Of course, my goal is to entice some of you half-bike riders (this is what we tandemmers call singe bikes) into possibly trying a tandem, but also just let the tandem world know some of the history between tandems and our company.

Quick Rodriguez Tandem Bicycle Historical tour:

In 1973 – Angel and Glenn started this company and started building tandems as well as single bikes.



Angel Rodriguez shows off a Triple (tandem) being constructed in the Rodriguez frame shop.




The triple finished and assembled waiting for its new owners. I love the 1970’s cars on the street.


In 1976 – Angel and Glenn attract the attention of a national bicycle magazine. Not specifically related to tandems, but that was coming.

In 1980 – A major bicycle magazine did a glowing review of the ‘Most advanced tandem they had ever seen’…the Rodriguez tandem. A 1979 tandem just like the one in that review can be seen hanging in our Rodriguez Museum (basically some old bikes hanging in the shop).


In 1984 – Estelle Gray and Cheryl Marek ride a Rodriguez tandem to set the Women’s World Record riding across the United states in just 10 days, 22 hours and 48 minutes. That was just a few hours shy of beating the men’s record

By the mid-1980’s – Rodriguez and Erickson tandems were a plentiful site at big rides like the STP

In the late 1980’s – Angel Rodriguez was called upon to help design Yakima’s first rooftop tandem carrier. The design carried the Rodriguez name for many years after that.

In 1989 – Angel teamed up with American Mfg. to build a line of aluminum tandems. Bicycling Magazine reviewed one in 1990, and gave it a strong thumbs up! These tandems are still out there on the road and have somewhat of a cult following.

Angel Rodriguez, The Tandem Bicycle Book
Along with these new aluminum tandems, came plans to take the Rodriguez name nationwide by opening tandem dealers all over the country. He contracted with tandem builder Dennis Bushnell to build a line of production steel tandems. Soon there were Rodriguez tandem dealers in many states across the country. Sales of both Rodriguez aluminum and steel tandems were growing by leaps and bounds. By this time, Glenn Erickson was no longer partners with Angel, but Glenn had a strong custom tandem business that would grow strongly through the 1990’s as well.

It was around this time that Angel released The Tandem Book and this even further established the brand’s commitment to tandem cycling. Angel sold R+E Cycles in 1990, but continued on with his tandem business through a new company called Evergreen.

Northwest Unofficial Tandem Society Logo


One of the many N.U.T.S. t-shirt designs from the 1990’s

By 1993 – The party was over. The new R+E Cycles owner went broke, but hat’s a whole other story. There was troubling news on the tandem front as well. As it turns out, tandems are hard to sell through shops that don’t have a strong commitment to them. Estelle (yes the record holder), my wife and I purchased the shop and the Rodriguez name in 1993 and started to piece things back together.

Back to basics. No more dealers. Rodriguez tandems would be sold exclusively through R+E Cycles again.

In 1994 – Debra, the President of the Northwest Unofficial Tandem Society (N.U.T.S.) called and asked us for a favor. She was moving, and had to give up her duties of running the club. She had tried to find someone else to do it, but no luck. So, we agreed, thinking that someone would pick it up after a short while. Well, a short while turned into several years. We lead monthly rides through the summer, and published and sent out a newsletter more or less quarterly (all snail mail back then). We ran N.U.T.S. until the year 2001 when Sheila (Thanks, Sheila!) formed the current Northwest Tandem Club, Evergreen. Don’t get me wrong, we love tandems, but running a club was something different. We were thrilled to merge N.U.T.S. into the Evergreen Tandem Club. They’ve done a fantastic job with it, and they are the folks who will bring you the 2017 Northwest Tandem Rally.


Dan with Tandem pulling Trailer

Throughout the 1990’s – R+E provided road support to many cycling events, including STP and some tandem events. The way we did it was unique. I rode a tandem with a trailer full of tools and parts (and sometimes my Doberman) along the route and fixed bicycles on the side of the road.

It was a way I could go on the rides and still be ‘working’, but it also gave us some visibility as the place to go for tandems. Finding stokers wasn’t easy. The trailer weighed 185 pounds loaded. Once someone had stoked for me with this contraption, they usually didn’t do it again.

Dan adjusting an eccentric of a Rodriguez Aluminum Tandem

On the road repairs can be…er…um…low tech once in a while. Here I am at the tandem rally ‘adjusting’ someone’s chain. Hey! If you look close you’ll see that’s one of those Rodriguez aluminum tandems from 1989.


Rodriguez Tandem owners at the 1995 tandem rally

1995
The Rodriguez Tandem Owner’s photo at the 1995 Northwest Tandem Rally. By this time, we were definitely back in the tandem business. Again, I can’t say enough about how much fun the tandem rally is.


Estelle Gray helps people at the Rodriguez Tandem Rally in Sun Valley
1996 – A Huge Year for Rodriguez Tandems

We took the show on the road! In an effort to expand interest in tandem cycling further around the northwest, we setup a Tandem Expo of sorts in Sun Valley Idaho. We rented a van, loaded 8 or so tandems on top of it, and drove the 11 hours to Sun Valley for a weekend of Tandems that we arranged. We advertised the event in Boise and through all of the local Idaho shops that we could get to hand out flyers to their customers. The event was a great success. We did sell some tandems, but more importantly, one of the Boise cycling clubs started emphasizing tandem cycling quite a bit more. In just a few years, that club would actually host the Northwest Tandem Rally in Boise.

It was a great rally indeed! Since it was a long drive, I offered to use my trailer to haul 20 of our customers tandems for them so they could fly. It was quite a trip. My van broke down in LaGrande Oregon on the way there, and the way back.

With all of this tandem stuff going on, we had managed to make enough noise in the tandem world to catch the eye of Eugene based Tandem Magazine. They came by and did a full spread on the shop for their magazine.

It was also in 1996 that we designed and built the first Tandem that could be converted to a single bike. It used 8 S&S couplings to achieve this feat, and we named it the Rodriguez 8-Ball. Author and Adventure Cyclist, Wilie Weir, chose a Rodriguez 8-ball for his highly publicized trip through Cuba. This publicity was great for our tandem reputation. It would be over 20 years before any other company even attempted such a creation, and by that time, we’d built dozens of them.

Rodriguez Tandem that converts to a single bike too
The Rodriguez 8-Ball is the only tandem that can be both your single bike and your tandem.


In 1997 – In an effort to offer a Rodriguez tandem at a lower price, we started producing the Rodriguez Toucan. Like Angel had done before, we contracted with Dennis Bushnell to build the overflow of these frames for us, as our custom shop at the time was not able to produce them fast enough. We sold them like hotcakes! It was hard to keep up with the demand. A Rodriguez tandem for just $1,997 was a great price.

The success of the Toucan put us on a National footing and soon the Tandem press noticed us. It wasn’t long until one of the owners of (the now defunct) Tandem Magazine called and ordered a custom Rodriguez tandem for he and his wife. This was pretty cool for a couple of reasons. You see, Tandem Magazine was based in Eugene Oregon, and so were Co-motion, Burley and Bike Friday….3 of our biggest competitors at the time. I thought it said something that a Eugene based Tandem Magazine owner wanted to order one of our bikes. Well, they ordered it, and then reviewed it in the magazine. I was a little nervous, but the review was very good, and the bike looked spectacular!

In 1998 – Tandem Magazine also reviewed the Rodriguez Toucan. That would be the last ‘tandem specific’ press we would get for a while. Tandem Magazine went out of business a few years after that, and it took a while for another magazine to pick up the reins.

In December of 2004 – We bought out Dennis Bushnell, moved all of his equipment into our shop, and hired Dennis full time to run the frame shop. By combining forces, we were able to develop an entirely new way of manufacturing custom bicycles and tandems. A method and philosophy that would make a Rodriguez bicycle or tandem the best value in the industry. Myself, as well as our frame building team also learned from Dennis and his wealth of knowledge.

Along with Dennis Bushnell came the famous Bushnell Eccentric bottom bracket. This is a tandem specific design that Dennis had developed. We went to work to patent the design right away. We had also been working on new tandem specific cantilever brake design. Having Dennis full time at the shop meant that we could speed up the prototyping process and begin patent work on that as well. It was a win for all concerned, and both products rocketed to stardom.

In 2008 – We introduced the Rodriguez Ultra-light tandem. At just 26 pounds, it was an industry sensation. Dennis’ long history of flyweight tandem building, and our new manufacturing process made something like this possible. The rest of the industry scrambled to keep up, and they’re still trying.

Lightweight Custom Racing Tandem


2008 – FREE Custom Tandem Sizing This was also the year that we made the announcement that all Rodriguez Tandems would include custom sizing free of charge. This just makes sense as trying to properly fit 2 people to one bike is impossible unless it’s built custom for them. Even if you don’t think you need a custom size tandem, you should read this article. Other manufacturers are still charging several hundred $$ to build in custom sizes, but our manufacturing method makes it possible for us to do it for free. As Angel always said “FREE is a very good price!”.

In 2009 – An early version of our tandem brake, the Big Squeeze, was reviewed in a British cycling magazine. Sales of the product took off.

2009 was also the year that we built our first Bicycle Built for Five that also converted to 4, 3 or 2. Having a builder like Dennis really stepped things up on the x-tra long bike division.

Custom Bicycle Built for Five in progress
A Rodriguez Bicycle Built for Five

We built several triples, and quads (bicycles built for four) in 2009 It was the year of the long bike. Our 2009 staff photo featured a couple of them that just happened to be in the shop at one time.

In 2011 – Our patent was finally awarded for the Bushnell eccentric. This was an enormous undertaking, but sales of the Bushnell eccentric are now worldwide. When we applied our new manufacturing techniques to making this product right here in Seattle, we suddenly became the largest producer of high end bottom bracket eccentrics in the world. As far as I know, our Bushnell eccentric is the only product manufactured in the U.S.A. and shipped to companies in Taiwan (instead of the other way around).

In 2012 – Another Rodriguez tandem specific patent would be issued. Our Big Squeeze brakes patent issued in March 2012. It might not sound like much, but holding 2 patents specifically related to tandem products is quite rare for a small company like ours.

By 2013 – It was hard to ignore the recent accomplishments we’d made in the tandem arena. By this time, there was another magazine that paid a substantial amount of attention to tandems again, Recumbent & Tandem Rider Magazine. Now we were approached by this Magazine for a review. The result was seven pages of the issue, including the cover of the magazine. They were very impressed with our ‘Only Custom’ sizing. Again, sales took off to new heights!

2014 – This was such a great tandem year for us here at R+E Cycles that it got a new Rodriguez tandem model named after it. The Rodriguez Model 20/14 is a creation to behold. Unique in the industry as a full tandem that rides like a full tandem, but will fit in small standard sized suitcases….small enough suit cases to be ‘carry on’ luggage in the European train system. This was the requirement that the bike was designed for.

The design was a great success, and we’ve built several of them now. As a matter of fact, we’re building one as I’m typing this article.

That brings us to 2016 – Here we are in 2016 and having one of the best tandem seasons since 1996. Tandems of every style are on order right now and we’re working on a bicycle built for 4 as well. Our new manufacturing method has proven itself to be the most flexible model in our industry. We even attracted the attention of a major business newspaper, the Puget Sound Business Journal to highlight our shop. We’d love to invite you in to visit our shop and meet the folks here at R+E Cycles (Rodriguez and Erickson).

After years of building tandems, we’ve done it all. We’ve built for world record holders, national champions, and most of all, families and couples of all skill levels and abilities. We’ve built tandem trikes for folks who couldn’t balance anymore, and we’ve built tandems for people almost 7 feet tall. You can have a gander at our tandem photo gallery to see some of the creations we built just over the last few years.

My Family in 2006 on our Rodriguez Bicycle Built for Four riding through the country in Idaho. We’re on our way to the 4th of July Parade!

Former national racing team member on his Rodriguez tandem (that also converts to a triple)


2017 should prove to be our best tandem year yet! We’re thrilled to be the title sponsor of the 2017 Northwest Tandem Rally, and looking forward to participating in it.

I say again, if you have a tandem and haven’t ridden in a tandem rally, do this one. If you don’t have a tandem, get one. We’ve got an excellent selection of used and new tandems right here in the shop for you to try.

Thanks for reading. I’ve got to get back to work now. –Dan – 09/2016

Please visit us soon!


The Frame Game


“Can you save money by ordering and installing your own parts?”

January 2016

Over the last few years, we’ve seen a trend for a number of people to order just a frame and fork. Some of these people already have a nice bike, but just want a new frame and fork that fits better, so they intend to move their parts from their current frame to the new frame. This approach can save some money.

The other frame/fork customer though, is still buying all new parts for their bike, but just not along with the frame/fork. Scouring the internet might make it look as if one could really save a bundle by building their bike this way. If this approach is for fun, then there is some value in it, but it is not really an effective way to save money. It may not look that way by just comparing ‘grouppo’ or ‘kit’ pricing to the cost of a full bike, but that’s not the full story.

Now, realize that we’re happy to sell someone just a frame….a frame and fork…a frame, fork and some parts…a frame and fork and a bunch of parts….a full bike with a few parts missing….or a full bike assembled and ready to ride. Any way you want it is fine with us. But, I thought you should consider a few things before making your choice.

Note: If you really want to assemble your new bike by yourself, we can sell you a full bike unassembled and you can have all the fun of putting it together. We’ve done this on occasion for people who own all the tools and possess the knowledge.

As you read on, there are more technical terms. If you have a solid understanding of the terms, and are already familiar with the different sizes, specifications, compatibilities, and why they all exist, then you are a candidate for ordering all of your own parts and building your own bike. If not, you will inevitably save money to order the bike as a full, or nearly full bike.

Continuing on…
This article works for just about any frame/fork combo, but let’s look at our Rodriguez Rainier Pro as a comparison. This is one of our very popular models.

I can find a SRAM Force 22 group online for just $700 pretty easily. Add that to a Rodriguez OX Platinum race frame and carbon fork at $1,899 and looks like one could be riding a Rainier Pro with SRAM Force 22 for just $2,600.

Assembly:
Now, of course $2,600 assumes that you own all of the tools and posses the ability to assemble the bicycle yourself, or paying someone else to do it for you. How much would it cost to pay someone else? About $250 is the going rate. So what? That’s only $2,850…..still well under the $3,900 of the full bike…right? Not exactly.

Wheels:
You’ve got to add wheels, tires, tubes and rim strips or you can’t ride it. To get a decent set of wheels with rim strips, tires and tubes online the cost is about $600 ~ $700. That won’t get you the 3-year warranty that we put on our wheels, but none-the-less, it is a set of wheels. Still, at $3,550 we’re still under the $3,900 right?

Anything Else?
Whoops, forgot the head set ($50), seat post ($30), stem ($40), seat ($50), handle bars ($40) and bar wrap ($17). $227 total. So, now we’re at $3,777.00. I’m sure there are a few more small things, but you can just go the the local bike shop several times and pick them up.

So, it looks like we saved a little money. After shipping charges for all of the parts (total of about $100), our net savings is $23. But, did we really save. Let’s continue.

The SRAM brakes that came with the kit are not compatible with the Rainier. The Rainier is built to fit wider tires and fenders. So, we need a set of long reach brakes. That’s about $55 online, so we’ll get them on the way, and later we can try to sell the SRAM brakes to recoup that cost. At this point we’re a little over the cost of just ordering the bike as a full bike. But, we must continue.

Need a second job…without pay?

Here’s some of the issues you’ll be dealing with:

  1. Did you order the right bottom bracket with your cranks? Often people order the wrong thing these days as there are many, many options. If you order the wrong one, then it’s time consuming to get it exchanged.
  2. Did you get the right head set? Again, many options here, and getting the wrong one is sometimes a problem.
  3. How about your front derailleur? There are several options here too, and the wrong choice will eat up your precious time to exchange this.
  4. Did you get the right seat post? There is no standard, and dozens of size options are available to choose from. This is a crucial measurement, and has to be exactly right. If you get one that’s too big, it just won’t fit in the frame. If you get one that’s a little too small though, it will fit and seemingly work fine, but will (I emphasize will) result in a cracked frame that is not covered under warranty. This is a fairly common issue.
  5. Did the exact parts that you ordered actually arrive? Very often, even if a customer did order the right specifications, someone in the warehouse shipped the wrong one (this happens to us all the time). If you cannot visually determine if it is correct upon arrival, then you won’t know until you try to install it. Again, more exchanges and delays. Hopefully the return window has not closed.
  6. Is your new frame compatible with your new crank set?

    This has been a frequent frustration for the frame/fork only customer. Believe it or not, many of the new cranks do not adhere to long held standards in bicycle frame design, and do not have any flexibility for adjustment. For instance, if you requested the frame design to accomodate really wide tires, chances are that your new Force crank set will not even work on your new frame. The chain rings will hit the frame, and there’s no adjustment in them. Many people think that this is a defect with the frame, but it is not. For the tire/frame/crank clearance to all work together, there are special considerations, and often a different crank set needs to be chosen. Our customers ordered just a frame with clearance for 35c tires were often discouraged to find out that the crank set they ordered will not work with tires that wide. For this reason, we often require your cranks to be present at the time of frame building. That way we can test fit them before we paint the bike.

    In the case of a standard race bike, this is usually not a problem. Most of our customers want something a little more custom though, and some trial and error is required to really have a handle on all of the incompatibilities in the bike world.

  7. Are your new wheels compatible with your new cassette? This is something that we run into once in a while now that 11sp is out. 10sp hubs are not compatible with 11-sp cassettes, and there are a lot of 10sp wheels out there for sale.
  8. What is your time worth? Many people don’t consider what their time is worth when taking on such an endeavor. Trying to take everything into consideration, and order all of the parts, dealing with errors, and the time to do the actual assembly all add up to a lot of time.
  9. What happens now if you (or your hired assembler) slip and scratch your paint while installing your parts? This does happen on occasion, even here in our shop. The difference is that we fix it free if we slip up, but not so in the other case.
  10. Lastly, what about warranty in general? If we assemble the bike with parts bought from us, then we also cover labor to remove, repair and re-install any parts that fail under warranty. This is something that we do as part of our ‘full bike’ purchase price, but is not covered by the parts manufacturer. If you purchased the parts yourself, then you will be responsible for any warranty parts exchanges and the labor involved. If the wrong parts were installed, they could cause non-warranty repair issues for the frame or fork.

Rather Hire a Pro?

Good news! Here at R+E Cycles, this is we do for a living, and we’ve been doing it for years now. All of our collective experience is used to design and choose the parts that work best for each bicycle we build and the customer that will be riding it. So, think about what you do for a living and how long you’ve been at it. If you were to hire someone to do your job, would you choose an enthusiast with no real industry experience, or would you rather work with a professional with a lifetime of knowledge in their field?

Can you save money if you buy the frame/fork and then hunt down all of the parts yourself? It’s important to consider all of the above before deciding that, but for most people, the answer is no. One thing for sure though, you can certainly save time and frustration by ordering the whole bike.


Thanks for reading – Dan

A Classic Conundrum

A Classic Conundrum

Over the last few years we’ve had a lot of customers from the past pulling out their classic Rodriguez and Erickson bikes, dusting them off, and hitting the road again. Apparently, once the kids are off to college, one gets the chance to start cycling more seriously again. As it turns out, these folks are hitting road only to find that 25 years is a long time, and they may need to make some adjustments. Needless to say, we’ve seen several dozen ‘classic’ Rodriguez bicycles and tandems, along with their ‘classic’ owners in here for re-fitting.

Deja Vu
Now, I’ve been the proprietor here a long time (even longer than Glenn and Angel). Seeing the old R+E bikes and their owners is a real fun treat for me. I’m having a good time guessing the bikes age, and can usually guess within a year or two the manufacture date. Sometimes I can even remember assembling the bike when it was new! (I was here as an emplyee way back in the 1980’s) For me, there’s a deja vu moment just about every day. It’s fun to shoot the breeze with the customers from the 1980’s, and a lot of them ask what Angel and Glenn are up to now. Just last week, I had a customer ask me if Angel lives in Michigan? This brings me to a small diversion, but then it’s back to bike fit, I promise!


About the Founders:

If you are one of those wondering about Angel and Glenn, here’s the quick scoop.

Angel Rodriguez is in Panama living at the base of Vulcan Baru (a volcano) and is just as busy as ever. He’s making seismographic equipement with OSOP. Though we don’t get see Angel much, he was gracious enough to come out for our 40th Anniversary party in 2013.

Currently, in keeping with his busy nature, he is launching a new seismograph project called brinco. It’s a crowd funding project launching July 15th, and Angel invites you to participate.


You can find Glenn Erickson still here in the Seattle area when he’s not in Europe leading bicycle tours for his company, Erickson Cycle Tours. We have the pleasure to work with his customers on a daily basis, and Glenn himself is frequent visitor to the shop. He also leads a fantastic bicycle ride each year to fight Parkinson’s disease. Maybe some of you ‘wise’ folks would like to join him this year (August 2nd). It’s a great time for all levels of cyclists, you’re all invited, and you can even register online.


For a detailed article about the shop’s history, there’s a great article that The Bicycle Paper ran for our 40th anniversary a few years back. Or, you can read my ramblings here.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled article…

Fits and Starts

OK, that gets the small talk out of the way. Let’s get to work on putting that old bike (and you) back on the road.

So, you pulled the old steed off the ceiling in the garage, aired up the tires and took her out for a spin. Much to your surprise, the ride wasn’t nearly as comfortable as you’d remembered, right? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. This is a scene repeated time and time again all throughout the Seattle area these days. With age comes wisdom, and with with wisdom comes the acceptance that riding your old bicycle fit hurts….a lot!! You see, injuries, flexibility, core strength, pride, you name it, all have an effect on your proper bicycle fit. If you were 25 or 30 when your bicycle was fit to you last and now your…well…not, chances are there have been a few changes in those areas….ya think? We’re finding that in almost every case, some modernization of a few parts, and some expert fitting work here at the shop, can put that old bike where it belongs…back on the road!

One more example

Just now, I went downstairs to get a cup of coffee, and low and behold, another classic Rodriguez was just brought in! After years of storage, this one looks to be returning to service.

It’s not just Rodriguez and Erickson bikes either. We’re seeing all brands of bikes from the past in here for fitting and modernization, then going back on the road. We’re happy to work with any brand of bicycle to get it fitting comfortable for you. Most of these bikes are the original owners, and are just returning to cycling after a ‘child rearing’ break. Maybe your hair is grayer, but so is ours, and we’ve all gone through the same issues with our own bike fit. So what do you say? The water’s warm…everybody’s doin’ it! Come on in, or just give us a call to talk about it.

You’re friends are welcome too! Maybe you’re already back on the road, but you know someone who used to ride, still has a bike, and all they need is a little encouragement to call R+E Cycles and get back in the swing. Just give ’em our number, and we’ll be glad to help them out.


Our fitting services are by appointment, and the pricing is here

To schedule an appointment, give us a call at 206-527-4822

Or, email us at Bikefit@rodbikes.com

To see a few classic Rodriguez and Erickson bikes, click here


Just Sit On It!

This article was written Feb. 6th, 2015. Prices quoted reflect that date, and may have changed if you are reading this at a later date.

Bodyfloat Seat Post Installed and Adjusted • Just $250 at R+E Cycles • (206) 527-4822

What do the roads you ride feel like?


Do you find yourself having to stand up frequently over cracked, crumbling asphalt on your rides? How about you commuters? Is your expletive quota reached on just about every commute? I’m sure that you’re hoping for the city to fix the road, but that’s just wishful thinking now, isn’t it?

Now you can ride in comfort and quiet while sitting on your bicycle seat. “Surely you jest!” you’re thinking to yourself right now, but I’m not. Let me fill you in on the secret we’ve discovered.

Suspension seat posts have a long history, but most people think of them like we did….only worth using on the back of a tandem. That was before the Bodyfloat seat post.

If you would like to make a comfort upgrade to your bicycle that really works, and is high performance, this article is for you. Let me take you on a short journey into the world of suspension seat posts and show you where it is now.

First, a little history:

Early Attempts at Comfort:


As the Nation’s oldest tandem manufacturer, we’ve got a long history with every suspension style seat post imaginable. All the way back to the early Hydrapost, suspension seat posts have been added to almost every tandem we’ve built. Stokers (the person on the back of a tandem) are not aware of upcoming bumps unless the captain (the person up front) warns them in advance. Needless to say, there are lots of times when that does not happen, and the stoker feels the full force of the bump. So, tandem manufacturers like us have always tried to use a seat post that would mitigate this problem a bit.

The first designs were to try to make the seat post into a shock absorber. While a few of these seat posts were somewhat effective, they were not really the kind of product that anyone wanted to use on a high performance single bike. They were heavy, and only provided some ’emergency’ relief for that ‘whoops I forgot to warn you on that one’ situations. They basically worked like a pogo stick built into the seat post. One problem with this design is that your seat tube is at an angle (usually 73° from the ground or so), but gravity is trying to pull your body down at a 90° angle. This creates a lot of what’s been called ‘stiction’. Basically, the shock absorber is stuck in place until you hit something violent enough to break it free. When it breaks free, it drops, but then returns with great force (like a pogo stick). Kind of a delayed reaction with a slightly dampened energy return. In the absence of any other designs, these were used for several years.

You still see these seat posts all over on ‘comfort bikes’. They are very inexpensive these days, but don’t really work very well.

Comfort in the 1980’s and 1990’s


The first product to really work well was the Alsop Softride beam. This was in standard use on many brands of tandems for the stoker position for almost 20 years. We also built a lot of single bikes for the beam through the 1990’s. It required a special frame design, with special braze-ons and lots of specific parts. So, it didn’t really take off too well as you couldn’t easily add one on to your existing bike. When used though, this product did exactly what it was supposed to. The beam dropped a little bit with the riders weight (straight up and down and not at the 73° angle). When the rear wheel dropped into a rut, the rider stayed at the same height. Like the suspension in a car, the wheels could go up and down, but the rider didn’t feel the impact. No sticktion, great suspension, but your bike had to be custom made to work with the design. My wife and I ride a tandem with a Softride beam to this day. She swears by it, but the company is now gone.


After the Softride company went out of business, we were stuck with various seat post designs to try and provide some relief to stokers. The shock absorber version was not so good, so we tried some of the parallelogram designs that were out. These tried to take the stiction away by attaching the seat to a parallelogram and allowing the rider weight to raise and drop straight up and down like the Softride beam did. The problem that we ran into with them was that the ‘falling rate’ of the spring design was wrong. You could say they were built backwards. The spring was strong when the seat was at the top, and got weaker as the seat moved downward. So, if a bump was hard and the seat post began to drop, the rider would end up all the way at the bottom of the action. Then they would have to lift their weight back off of the seat to get the seat back up because the spring was too weak to actually lift the rider.

Even with their imperfections, we were limited to use these for the stoker positions of many tandems. Some people used them on single bikes, but like I said, these designs were not very high performance. For those who wanted something incredible, the wait was almost over. In 2013, the answer would arrive in the form of the Bodyfloat.

“OK Dan! Bring it in to this century already!”

In 2013, one of the guys who worked on the design for the original Alsop Softride beam visited our shop. He brought with him a new seat post design that he was very excited about, the Bodyfloat. He did a demonstration install/setup for Scott (our shop manager) on his personal bike. It was near closing time, so Scott rode the bike home with the post in it, and then he rode it back in the next morning. He said to me “I’m buying that seat post, and leaving it on my bike!” That’s a testament to the performance of this new post. Scott has ridden every suspension post available, and never thought he wanted one on his personal commuter. This post changed his mind.

The 2015 Bodyfloat Seat Post Just $250 at R+E Cycles We were so excited about the new design that we invited the Bodyfloat representative to display his post in our Bike and Pike event last year to show our customers his new product. It was an immediate smash hit, and several of our customers ordered them for not only their tandems, but their single bikes as well. Then, just as quickly as it took off, they couldn’t produce them fast enough for our demand. We spent several months without them. I was kind of bummed out because I wanted to try one on my own bike. Well, good news. They figured out their production issues, and now they are readily available, and 40% less than they were a year ago! The original version was Titanium at $425, but the new version is aluminum at just $250. The Ti version is still available for the rider that needs a super long seat post.

The Bodyfloat works on a different principal than all other suspension seat posts before it. Instead of having a falling rate design, it has a ‘rising rate’ design. The Bodyfloat springs are lighter at the top, and gradually get stiffer as the seat drops. No more having to lift your self off the seat to raise the seat back to start position. It also drops just slightly as your weight sits onto the post like the old Softride beam design did. The wheels can drop in and out of bumps while you, the rider, stays stationary in space.

I have since installed one on my bike and had the same experience as Scott. I will keep it on my bike, and I’m considering installing one on the Captain position of my tandem as well. It’s amazing how I can only hear the bike hitting the small bumps and cracks in the road, but I do not feel them anymore. I have to say, I’m impressed!

I can talk until the cows come home, but maybe you should just come to the shop and try one for yourself. Give us a call at (206)-527-4822 and set up a time to come by with your bike and your riding gear. We’d be happy to set one up for a test ride.

Not exactly ‘Plug and Play’

The Bodyfloat does need to be adjusted to your weight and riding style by a professional. Not to worry though, we’ve been trained in the proper set-up and will do it for you for FREE with purchase of a Bodyfloat! Free is a very good price.

“But…but…wait! I ordered one online and it’s not set up for me.”

If you’ve already ordered one online, or from someone eles who didn’t set it up for you, no need to worry. We can set it up for you for just $25. Just call us for an appointment.

Just in time for NAHBS! But you won’t see this bike there….

…instead, it’ll be where it should be, with its new owner starting a life of challenging bicycle rides and tours! As a matter of fact, you won’t see any of our bicycles there. Instead, we’ll be right where we should be….designing, building and painting these custom creations. If you follow my blog, then you know why we don’t attend…if not, here you go.

Last month, I wrote about some of the incredibly unique Rodriguez bikes we built in 2014. Well, here we go again! 2015 is off to an amazing custom start as well!

More Custom than Custom!

This bike is pretty special, and I think you’ll agree after you’ve viewed the post. It’s a combination of our new Rodriguez Model 2014 tandem, our famous Rodriguez 6-pack, and our old standard, the Rodriguez 8-ball convertible (an invention of ours from the 1990’s that I wrote about last year). So, basically, this puppy is a micro travel bike, and a micro travel tandem all in one. Chances are that you won’t see anything this challenging to design and build at any bike show you’ll attend (sorry show attendees). That’s OK though, you can see the whole thing in detailed photos right here on our website because…well…it’s 2015, right?






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